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Messages - eHalcyon

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General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: May 18, 2017, 07:28:27 pm »
I watched the entire first season. I dropped it halfway through S02e01.

I also like the concept. I like the idea of eight different people who are all totally different and good at different things, but all work together and help each other out. There was this one scene where the lesbain hacker girl tries to escape, and is helped out first by the korean fighting women, then the cop guy, and then the bus driver. That's kind of inherently cool.

But the finale was really weak. They had the odds stacked against them and just had enough luck at each step to pull through anyway. What kind of stakes are supposed to be left after that? It's pretty clear that the show isn't willing to let anyone die. It is, on the other hand, quite willing to have some of them kill lots of other people, and pretty much gives them all a moral pass.

I'm also increasingly frustrated with the gay actor guy's story line. The beginning of his arc is great, where his publicly held girlfriend finds out and you think okay she's going to be mad and stuff and instead she's super into it. Then she messes up, but takes responsibility for it, as she should. But his BF breaking up with him and he trying to commit suicide and failing I thought was super lame. And the german guy is worse, he's just an awful person (and murderer), and the other just continue to support him without questioning whether they really should, which comes back to the moral issues.

Hmm, I don't remember much of Lito's plot in season 1, but his relationship with Hernando is still solid in season 2 FWIW.  I don't know that the group really supports Wolfgang.  He's the most removed from the rest of the group in that he rarely asks for help in his day-to-day stuff.  The others don't outright condemn him because (1) it's pretty tough to condemn somebody who is basically a part of you and (2) I think their connection affords them greater insight into why he is the way he is and why he does the things he does.  Yeah he does some horrible things, but the others naturally understand his POV, and people rarely see themselves as villains of the story.

I don't think death needs to be on the table for there to be dramatic stakes.  There are plenty of other things to be concerned about and invested in.  But even if you need the possibility of death, I never got the sense that any of the characters have plot armor.  None have died yet, but I don't feel like any of their survival is guaranteed.  Not sure why you got that feeling.

But I dunno.  If it's not for you, it's not for you. :)

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: May 18, 2017, 02:52:47 am »
Binged Sense8 season 2... I think it's my favourite show now.  The cast is phenomenal, the mythology is intriguing, the action sequences are tight, its very concept is enough to elevate simple and generic plots into something unique and compelling.

Really surprised to read you say this. I really thought it just wasn't a good show, once you get behind the very expansive production and cool setting and mature approach and eight different story lines (and the opening credits!)... which admittedly takes about a season. But once you do and it has to rely on the actual writing-

simple and generic plots

- ... yeah, exactly.

I'm curious, how much of it did you watch?  There's one particular part in the first season where it really just clicks.

I really like shows with neat concepts, and the concept behind Sense8 is just one of the most interesting I've seen.  Season 1 was just the characters beginning to explore the concept while Season 2 is where the show really starts to dive deep into the mythology of the world, which I just love.

Simplicity of the individual characters' plots isn't a bad thing, and they are only generic so far as the individual; it's the ties between the characters that offers the unique twist and makes the stories compelling.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: May 10, 2017, 07:13:44 pm »
Binged Sense8 season 2... I think it's my favourite show now.  The cast is phenomenal, the mythology is intriguing, the action sequences are tight, its very concept is enough to elevate simple and generic plots into something unique and compelling.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: April 03, 2017, 12:19:04 am »
One Punch Man is hilarious, can't believe I went so long without watching it.

I started reading the manga after I caught up on the anime.  I'm still not entirely sure of the manga update schedule.  It seems sporadic.

Speaking of funny... Rick and Morty season premiere.  Amazing as always.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: March 23, 2017, 05:55:59 pm »
I'm caught up on all the superhero shows!  In general, I think the Marvel shows are higher quality than the DC ones.  Arrow, Flash, Legends and Supergirl are all really cheesy and they seem to tread the same ground over and over again.  It's like every few weeks they have to learn the same lessons again (especially: don't lie to your teammates and hold back important, relevant information).  I still enjoy the shows, but they feel like "guilty pleasure" shows to me.

Agents of Shield is actually one of my favourites right now.  The first half of season 1 was pretty bad, but it's gotten better and better since then.  Season 4 has been excellent. 

I really liked Agent Carter for the different perspective it offered.  Shame it got dropped.

I liked all of the Netflix shows but my memory fails me on the specifics of each.  I just have my general impressions of them.

If I were to rank everything right now... I think it would be something like:

Legion > [DD, JJ, LC, AC] > AoS > [IF, Flash, Arrow] > [LoT, Supergirl] >> Gotham

Where things in brackets are a bit nebulous.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: March 20, 2017, 03:54:21 am »
Watching the first episode of Iron Fist. Some of the acting (or maybe dialogue writing) is a bit weak :( Hopefully it picks up.

I binged through all of it!

I'm pretty forgiving of mediocre TV in general, so I'm OK with it.  My biggest gripe with the show is simply that Danny Rand is just kind of stupid.  Why in the world would he think that it's a good idea to tell everyone he meets about his magical fist?  And why is he surprised when people think he is crazy because of it?  It's just kind of unbelievable for someone who is presumably highly trained and highly capable. 

I also found it strange that so many fights were evenly matched.  I guess it's supposed to be more tense that way, but I think it would have been way more fun if the Iron Fist just totally outclassed every opponent in combat ability.  But to be fair, I guess it's just conservation of ninjutsu.

I suppose both these things are kind of addressed when they reveal that Danny left before his training was complete.  Not really a satisfying explanation for me though.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: March 17, 2017, 02:55:38 am »
Legion renewed for Season 2 (reddit discusison).  Good news.  Apparently ratings have not been great (ratings are stupid, but sometimes still given credence), but the show is absolutely fantastic.

Last night was another great episode.

Low ratings?  But it's such a wild ride!

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: March 11, 2017, 11:01:39 pm »
Yeah, the show itself is pretty good, too.

Although I thought the finale was weak and the opener of season 2 is so far the worst episode of the show. Way too much fan service, and apparently not even in universe. I liked the show more when it was serious and less over the top.

I also have some moral complaints. The German guy is an awful person and the show never really judges him; he's treated just like any of the other 7. That and he should have died already!

It's been a while since I watched it, but I think your complaint does get addressed at some point.

Dominion General Discussion / Re: Interview with Donald X.
« on: February 02, 2017, 05:27:07 pm »
You've stated before that originally you used one copy of each card as randomizers rather than having dedicated randomizers, and that this made Black Market setup quick and easy. Now that those blue-backed randomizers exist, do you use them? Do you pick events/landmarks by shuffling them into the randomizer deck or some other way? How do you do Black Market setup, particularly in regard to split piles?

Also, what is your favorite landmark and why?

I admit that the first paragraph is like 20% interview question and 80% looking for advice, sorry.

IIRC, Donald X. plays with his homemade cards, not the officially printed ones.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: January 31, 2017, 06:07:42 pm »

Other Games / Overview and First Impressions: Not Alone
« on: January 02, 2017, 01:07:15 am »
The first game I played in 2017 was Not Alone.  I've played it 5.5 times now and it is already one of my best purchases of 2016.

Rules Summary

Not Alone is a 1 vs. many game where one alien creature hunts up to 6 other players who have been shipwrecked on its planet.  It is a relatively simple game of cat and mouse, hide and seek, risk and reward.  The goal for the Hunted is to survive long enough to be rescued; the goal for the Creature is to keep them there and assimilate them into the planet.  The board is a simple track with two token starting on either end.  As the game progresses, both the Rescue token and the Assimilation token will advance inward toward the same goal space that marks victory for one side.

Each of the Hunted starts with the same 5 Place cards in their hands, representing 5 locations on the planet that they can explore.  Each round has 4 phases, and in the first phase the Hunted players decide where they will be going.  Each one plays a Place card from their hand face down.  They are free to discuss and make plans, but the Creature gets to hear everything.  Each Place has a different effect that can help the Hunted survive and move closer to rescue.

After those decisions have been made, phase 2 lets the Creature go on the hunt, putting the Creature token (and possibly others) on one Place where it will stalk its prey.

Phase 3 is the reveal and resolution.  Going to the left from the Creature, each player resolves the effect of the Place they have chosen.  But if any players were caught by the Creature then that Place is ineffective, the Assimilation token moves forward 1, and the caught players lose 1 Will each (more on that soon).

Phase 4 is clean up.  The Creature gets its tokens back, the played Place cards are discarded, and the Rescue token advances 1 for another day survived.  The Creature also draws back up to 3 Hunt cards (these cards confer special effects, many allowing the Creature to place an extra token to further hinder the Hunted; the Creature can play only one per turn at any time during the phase listed on the card).

Maintaining the will to live is important when you're stranded on a hostile alien planet.  Each player has 3 Will tokens.  If you ever lose all your Will, then you must Give Up and the Assimilation token advances further (and then you get those 3 tokens and all your Place cards back).  You also have the option to Give Up at the start of Phase 1 for the same effect.  Alternatively, you can choose to Resist, losing 1 or 2 Will in order to retrieve 2 or 4 Place cards into your hand.  Losing will is costly, but it may be necessary lest you become too easy to find.

This is because the Hunted will lose options as the game continues if they aren't careful with their hand management.  The Place cards that have been discarded remain face up.  When the Creature knows where you've already been, it becomes easier to determine where you may go next!  There are only so many ways to get those cards back into your hand.

The Places are all pretty simple.  I think I can remember them all off the top of my head.  In addition to the usual effects, you can also just take back 1 Place card instead (unless the Place is rendered ineffective that turn).

1. The Lair.  You can choose to retrieve all discarded cards (which means not the Lair itself, as it isn't discarded until phase 4) OR copy the power of the Place with the Creature token.  However, if the Creature catches you here, you lose 2 will instead of the usual 1.

2. The Jungle.  You immediately return the Jungle to your hand and also retrieve one other Place card.

3. The River.  Next turn, you play two Place cards instead of one, returning one to your hand in phase 3 before revealing.

4. The Beach.  You either charge the beacon (putting a marker on the Beach) or use the beacon (removing the marker) to advance the Rescue token 1 space.  This can only be used once per turn (so multiple people going to the Beach on the same turn is inefficient).

5. The Rover.  You can add an advanced Place to your hand!

The Hunted can't visit Places 6-10 initially, but some may gain access via the Rover.  There aren't enough copies of these cards for all of the Hunted to gain each one though.

6. The Swamp.  You immediately return the Swamp to your hand and also retrieve TWO other Place cards.

7. The Shelter.  You draw 2 Survival cards, keeping 1 and discarding the other.  (Survival cards have special effects to aid the Hunted and can be played at any time during the phase listed on the card.  Each Hunted starts the game with 1 Survival card.)

8. The Wreck.  You move the Rescue token 1 space forward, max once per turn.

9. The Source.  One Hunted of your choice regains 1 Will, or you draw a Survivor card.

10. The Artefect.  Next turn, you play 2 Place cards and resolve both of them!

And that's it!  When either the Rescue token or the Assimilation token reaches the marked space, the game ends.


I don't know how it comes across in the rules summary, but the game is remarkably simple but also extremely immersive.  I've played both sides and they both feel tense but fun with many chances to outwit, trap and be the hero, and just as many to be outwitted, trapped, and become the victim.

My first 2.5 plays had some minor rules mistakes.  A friend had played before so he taught the game, and I only discovered the errors later after reading the rules on my own.  The 0.5 is for the middle game where one rule mistake had a major impact -- we thought that the Assimilation token moved forward for each Hunted caught, rather than just moving once if any Hunted are caught.  Three times in the first four turns, the same 2 players went to the same Place and were caught.  That game ended very quickly.

Game 1: early lead for the Hunted, but the Creature caught up and pulled out the win at the end.

Game 2: quick Creature victory thanks to that rules misunderstanding and some major bad luck.

Game 3: Valiant effort by the Creature, but a fairly solid Hunted victory.

The next three plays were with a different group.

Game 4: extremely close game that ended with a victory for the Hunted, but the Creature (me!) was only 1 space away.  In retrospect, I believe I could have won if I had paid slightly more attention.

Game 5: Solid victory for the Creature, who managed to catch out two Hunted fairly often.

Game 6: Solid victory for the Hunted, who managed to evade the Creature on most turns.

Overall, it feels incredibly well balanced.  Victory or defeat doesn't feel too random, but depends a lot on figuring out where the Hunted can go, want to go, and need to go, and then playing around that.  Maybe you really need to go to the Beach, but everyone knows that so it may actually be a better play to NOT go to the Beach, since obviously the Creature will go there.  But then there's the WIFOM -- the Creature knows you know that it should be going to the Beach, so nobody will actually go to the Beach, so the Creature will go elsewhere... so the Beach will be clear, right?

I do have a concern that the strength of the Creature may be unduly influenced by the randomly drawn Hunt cards.  As I recall, the games where the Creature won featured Hunt cards that allowed the Creature to target adjacent locations with a special token, thereby vastly increasing its chance of blocking multiple players.  It's too early to tell though, and it's worth noting that I didn't get any of the "adjacent" Hunt cards in the very closest game we had (Game 4 above).

I also think that there's a lot of room for clever team play by the Hunted.  In all 6 games we played, the Hunted chose their Places in relative silence, rarely discussing plans.  I think we/they were always afraid to let slip plans in front of the Creature.  Thinking on it now though, there are plenty of plans worth making.  A very simple one: "I may go to the Beach this turn, so nobody else go to the Beach!"

There were some cards with slightly ambiguous effects, but they aren't too tough to house rule.  After reading through some of the rules questions on BGG, I think we houseruled too much in favour of the Hunted.

Anyway, I highly recommend this game.  Plays up to 7(!), pretty easy to teach and learn, engaging and fun, and it offers a relatively uncommon experience as a 1 vs. many game.  It's great!

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: December 20, 2016, 10:30:20 pm »

D10-1 is equal to D8

D6+1 is equal to D8

Is a roll of D10-1 as good as a roll of D6+1?

We taught you how to fish.  We gave you the tools.  Now go catch your fish.

Go fishing:
Rolled 1d8 : 1, total 1

You feel a nibble and begin reeling.  The specimen is powerful and puts up a fight.  It drags you deep into the depths.  As the water fills your lungs, you see that the beast that defeated you was... a lifeless old boot.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: December 20, 2016, 06:34:44 pm »

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: December 12, 2016, 09:17:39 pm »

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: December 10, 2016, 10:53:13 pm »
Agents of Tomorrow.

Legends of Tomorrow, or Agents of SHIELD?  The first, I imagine.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: December 06, 2016, 08:17:28 pm »
I'm sad to hear that the Flash isn't doing so hot.

Are you hearing that from other sources?  Witherweaver only said that it's been :(, which is a rather ambiguous statement if you ask me. ;)

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: December 06, 2016, 12:53:24 am »
Westworld is finished! Though last 3-4 series it was not so interesting, the last one was a real blast! (Also nowadays everybody prefers to use Radiohead in the last scene). Also, when the 4th or 5th series went on screens, I've read a "crazy fan theory" that said that William is a man in black. Uh oh, funny that they were right!

Overall, series is really great.

I think I may have to rewatch it now while keeping the multiple timelines in mind, especially the early episodes from before I'd heard the theory.

In other TV news, did anyone else watch the recent Arrowverse crossover?  Ambitious project, and I think it turned out pretty well.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: December 01, 2016, 10:14:15 pm »
You never truly appreciate the 'r' and 'e' keys being right next to each other until you try to search "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and come up with something totally different...

It's always good to proofread, in order to keep abeast of typos.

General Discussion / Re: TV shows
« on: November 30, 2016, 11:41:40 pm »
That latest Westworld episode though.  Much of it already predicted by fans but still really well done.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: November 30, 2016, 06:22:26 pm »
Anyone have recommendations for a phone stylus?  I bought a cheap-ish one from Best Buy so I could continue to play Pokemon Go without my hands freezing.  It is wearing out after only a couple weeks of use.  Not sure if it's just especially low quality, cold weather or the specific motions needed for PoGo (but probably some combination of all 3).

Anyway, I'm not sure if a more expensive stylus would be better.  For now, I've ordered a set of 10 extra-cheap styluses from Amazon.  No idea if they'll collectively last longer, but it's so cheap that I may as well try.  They're gonna take a month to arrive though.  Any of you guys have relevant wisdom to offer?

No wisdom, but a question: How in the world is something from Amazon taking a month to ship?

Unless I've misunderstood and they're coming from some rare uncontacted tribe in the Amazon.

My understanding is that it's actually shipping from China, even though it's sold on Amazon.  If they rip me off I won't care that much because it was about $2.  Reviews seem to be fine though.  Amazon as a storefront seems to obfuscate a lot though so I'm not entirely sure.

General Discussion / Re: Random Stuff Part III
« on: November 30, 2016, 12:48:01 am »
Anyone have recommendations for a phone stylus?  I bought a cheap-ish one from Best Buy so I could continue to play Pokemon Go without my hands freezing.  It is wearing out after only a couple weeks of use.  Not sure if it's just especially low quality, cold weather or the specific motions needed for PoGo (but probably some combination of all 3).

Anyway, I'm not sure if a more expensive stylus would be better.  For now, I've ordered a set of 10 extra-cheap styluses from Amazon.  No idea if they'll collectively last longer, but it's so cheap that I may as well try.  They're gonna take a month to arrive though.  Any of you guys have relevant wisdom to offer?

Oops, voting closed 9 days ago and I forgot to vote.  ;D

Re: Iron Maiden
I agree that this card has a problem in that the junk supply is too deep (ruins, curses, AND copper).  However, I would argue that this problem only arises from coppers, not curses.  In general, Jester does not hand out very many curses, therefore I would not expect Iron Maiden to hand out many either.

It's not about Curses in general, but Curses and Ruins are already too much.  And that's without considering the Copper, which are problematic on their own because the size of the Copper pile isn't scaled by number of players.

General Discussion / Re: Generic singular third-person pronoun
« on: November 04, 2016, 09:42:45 pm »
For the record, there are certainly plenty of Canadians who are fine with using singular they, myself included.

Types: Action - Attack
Cost: $6*
+1 Card
+1 Action
Follow the instructions on the top card of the Troops pile.
(This is not in the Supply.)

On the randomizer card: Add an extra Attack Kingdom card pile to the Supply. That pile is the Troops pile. In games using this, when you gain a Victory card, you may exchange a Troops pile card from your hand for a Calvary.

Clarification: Calvary is not in the Supply, so there will be 10 Kingdom cards as usual (or 11 with Young Witch). The "instructions" are the same thing that Enchantress blocks, so (for example) the "while in play" part of Goons would not be emulated by Calvary. Treat the coin values of Treasures (e.g. Relic or Rocks) as instructions as well. "Exchange" is the same keyword used for Travellers.
This is just begging us to look for a case where it's completely abusive.  Hey, how about those cantrip Goons?  Or cantrip Torturer?  I note that you only get one Cavalry per Victory card, so I suppose the net extra cards drawn is zero.

Cantrip Goons would be the same as cantrip Militia except with a way bigger opportunity cost; the VP clause on Goons would not be part of Cavalry since it only copies the instructions.  It's actually in the clarification, which is consistent with how Enchantress works; Goons is probably one of the worst possibilities for this.  I'm thinking through the possibilities and don't think there's anything that seems abusive to me.  The mitigating factor IMO is that you can't play the attack on the turn you exchange it, which is a significant opportunity cost.  Along with the requirement to green early or gain Cavalry late, I think it's reasonable.

Types: Action - Looter
Cost: $5
+1 Card
+1 Action
You may gain a Ruins, putting it into your hand.
Discard any number of cards. +2 cards per Action card discarded, +1 card per every other card discarded.
You may trash this.

When you trash this, +2 cards.
Okay, ignore the ruins, and ignore the on-trash effect.  This is on the level of City Quarter.  In fact, it draws an extra card compared to City quarter, and you get a free Cellar on top of that.  Totally OP.

But you have to discard the cards, so it's not at all on the level of City Quarter...?  Oh, I guess it's because you would get 2 cards for each Action discarded whereas City Quarter gives one card and doesn't discard.  Hmm, that's a fair point, but I feel that City Quarter is better.  Keeping the actions is a little safer and more self-synergistic, and City Quarter is a village to support all the actions.  Maybe Junkyard could warrant a cost increase, but I think it's premature to call it OP.

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